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Arboretum Tree List
A tree can be defined in many ways. An edition of Webster’s Dictionary
defines a tree as “a woody perennial plant usually with a single main stem and
a head of branches and leaves at the top.” Benny J. Simpson, Co-Founder and
former President of the Texas Native Plant Society1 is remembered for saying,
“if you could walk under it, it was a tree, but if you had to walk around it, it
was a shrub.” A list of trees has some gray areas; it is difficult to draw a hard
and fast line between trees and shrubs. For example, there is a Texas Buckeye
that is about five feet high and five feet wide, but at Enchanted Rock in the
Hill Country the same species will grow to a height of over twelve feet.
Trees in cultivation will react differently from those in their native habitat. At
Temple College an effort is made to get a tree well established after planting
and then let it grow on its own. Trees that are out of their natural range are
put into a microclimate that will encourage survival and growth. The Wild
Olive (Cordia boissieri) on campus is protected from the north and the east by
a building; the Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) is placed in a
low spot that receives runoff water when it rains.
Future plans for the Arboretum include the addition of suitable trees that are
native to this area of Texas as well as those that are well adapted. The
Arboretum is for the use and enjoyment for those who come to study plants.
It also here for the enjoyment of those who might discover what the evergreen
Mexican Silktassel (Garrya ovata var. lindheimeri) looks like, or see a Texas
Smoke Tree (Cotinus obvatus) in glorious fall color, or smell the blossoms of
the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia congesta) and decide that trees add more
to the landscape than just oxygen and shade.
Author of A Field Guide To Texas Trees.